Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Reestablishment of the Manchester Eruv

To begin with, I use the term “re”establishment of the Manchester eruv because the original eruv was established over a hundred years ago by the foremost posek to have lived in Manchester Harav Avraham Aharon Yudelovitch, author of the Bais Av (Harav Fishel Hershkowitz shlita maintains that the Bais Av's teshuvos are in a league of their own).  Anyone who would like to learn the intricate halachos of eruvin would do well if they studied the second volume of the Bais Av titled Kerem Av. There is no sefer on hilchos eruvin that is its equal. Clearly, those seeking guidance regarding the establishment of an eruv in Manchester, should look no further. As can be noted from his teshuvos on the matter, the circumstances then in Manchester were similar to the current situation and nevertheless, Rav Yudelovitch allowed an eruv there (in fact, the population of Manchester was even greater in his times than it is currently). There is no reason why anyone in Manchester would not follow this towering posek regarding this matter. 

I greeted the news of the reestablishment of the Manchester eruv with great joy. However, as my experience with city eruvin taught me I tempered my joy with trepidation at the perils that lie ahead.  Unfortunately, my familiarity with these situations proved right. The Cabal (Chevrah Hilchos Issurei Eruvin) reared its ugly head. 

While it is understandable and commendable that rabbanim who seek to establish an eruv for their town to confer with experts regarding the extremely intricate halachos of eruvin, today there are rabbanim who call on yungerleit who specialize in combating city eruvin. In their zeal to impede eruvin, these yungerleit have a penchant to collect all shitos yechidos under one roof. If the Cabal would mean it l’shem shamayim, Manchester would not be on their radar at all, since an eruv for Manchester is no different than most towns that have erected an eruv and the issue of reshus harabbim there should not be an impediment. Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l would not have an issue with a Manchester eruv nor would 99.99% of all poskim have an issue with a Manchester eruv (see below for a more detailed analysis).

The fact that there is resistance to the eruv in Manchester just proves my point. There is a misplaced antipathy towards city eruvin. The Cabal believes that an eruv is a trick and needs to be stopped by any means available, so much so that, in their eagerness to negate city eruvin, they include non-halachic arguments, such as an eruv is likely to lead to michsholosIn fact, these secondary allegations would negate all eruvin, even private ones. It seems that these people are not troubled that an eruv is a mitzvah me’d’rabannan, and as such, they should be labeled, modern day Tzedukim or Apikorsim. Furthermore, those yungerleit who argue that halachically city eruvin are problematic are negating a mitzvah. Today’s city eruvin are an outgrowth of the halachos of shtufei mavaos which is a separate mitzvah classified in the Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 395:1). Therefore, by negating all city eruvin, at the minimum they should be labeled as eino modeh bshtufei mavaos.

Moreover, the Bnei Yissachar (Nimukei Orach Chaim, 394:1) and the Chidushei HaRim (Siddur Tefillah Likutei Yehudah, p. 186) were makpid to carry in a kosher eruv in order not to be included with those who are eino modeh b’eruv, or Tzedukim. I think that the Bnei Yissachar and the Chidushei HaRim had the foresight to know what was to come and even anticipated the Cabal. It is ironic that Rav Yudelovitch when he established the original Manchester eruv had to deal with a rav who made similar arguments in opposition to his eruv. Rav Yudelovitch (Kerem Av, 1:25) did not mince words; he stated כי בפנימיותם רבנים כאלו הם כופרים בכל דבר הקדוש, והן לא יאמינו.  It seems that we are back to where we started.

Furthermore, with all the chaff that is being bandied about regarding eruvin, most people do not realize that our forebears carried even in large cities, where the eruvin were nowhere near as mehudar as the Manchester eruv.  Therefore, there is no reason to follow the Cabal over the experts who established the North Manchester eruv. Halevai that everything else we did benefitted from the same level of halachic certainty.

What follows is part one of this essay in which we will examine the halachic issues that are relevant to the Manchester eruv. I will b”n post part two shortly where I will dissect a shiur given by a yungerman who was brought in from Eretz Yisroel to negate the Manchester eruv. His lecture is typical of the Cabal, full of half-truths and outright lies.


A Discussion of the Halachic Issues Regarding the Manchester Eruv

A lot of halachic misinformation has been promulgated regarding the kashrus of the Manchester eruv, in particular regarding the issue of whether the area it encompasses constitutes a reshus harabbim, which would render an eruv of tzuras hapesachim invalid. It should be made clear that the eminent rabbanim supporting the eruv are following the overwhelming majority of poskim, and as such, no one should in any way feel that they are relying on kulos by making use of it.

The custom of erecting eruvin in cities with a population greater than 600,000 [shishim ribo] has existed for generations. Almost all large cities prior to World War II, including the renowned kehillos of Warsaw and Lodz, erected eruvin. Bnei Brak [including its interconnected neighborhoods] and Yerushalayim, both of which contain more than shishim ribo, are enclosed with eruvin under the hashgacha of Rav Landau shlita and the Eidah Hachareidis. In 1938, the Achiezer, Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski zt"l, and the Chazon Ish zt"l allowed the establishment of an eruv in Paris [1936, population 2,829,746] with exactly the same conditions as in Manchester: three mechitzos, omed merubeh al ha'parutz.

To begin with, it is an incontrovertible fact that, according to the Gedolei Haposkim, the Manchester eruv is not a matter of a d’Oraysa. The overwhelming majority of poskim maintain that me’d’Oraysa a tzuras hapesach would reclassify a reshus harabbim as a reshus hayachid (see further regarding the requirement of delasos me’d’rabban).  Accordingly, the Cabal’s main argument that a Manchester eruv would be a safek d’Oraysa is vacuous. This point cannot be stressed often enough; the Gedolei Haposkim maintain that once a tzuras hapesach is established, the area in question is never a matter of a d’Oraysa. If people would be acquainted with this extremely important fact, maybe then the gratuitous call of the Cabal to be stringent in all matters regarding city eruvin would be ignored.

The following is a list of poskim who maintain that a tzuras hapesach is sufficient on a d’Oraysa level: Prei Megadim, Rosh Yosef, Shabbos 6b; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, O.C. 364:4; Rav Chaim Volozhiner, Shu"t Nishmas Chaim, p. 1; Gaon Yaakov, Eruvin 11a; Tzemach Tzedek, Eruvin the end of Perek 5; Aishel Avraham, siman 345; Yeshuos Malko, O.C. 21; Avnei Nezer, O.C. siman 273:16; 279:2; 289:2; Aruch HaShulchan, O.C. 364:1; Kanah V’Kanamon, 5:56; Livush Mordechai, 4:4; Kaf HaChaim and O.C. 364:12.

Once a tzuras hapesach is established for an area classified as a reshus harabbim, since the requirement of delasos is only me’d’rabbanan, we can be lenient [safek d’rabbanan l’kulla] and apply any additional heter to remove the requirement of delasosYeshuos Malko, O.C. siman 21; Avnei Nezer, O.C. 273:16, 279:2; Kanah V’Kanamon, 5:56; Livush Mordechai, 4:4, and Bais Av, 2:9:3.

Now let us explore if Manchester could even be categorized as a reshus harabbim at all.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of poskim maintain that the area enclosed by the eruv in North Manchester would not be classified as a reshus harabbim for the following three reasons:
1) None of the streets, including Bury New Road, are traversed daily by 600,000 people ― there is no shishim ribo ovrim bo b'chol yom. Nor does the area encompassed by the eruv meet Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l's criteria for a reshus harabbim of shishim ribo.

It should noted that only regarding this criterion is there an argument if a Baal Nefesh should be stringent, the reason being that the criterion of shishim ribo is mired in a machlokas Rishonim. [In fact, we know today that the overwhelming majority of Rishonim (over 40) maintain that shishim ribo is a criterion of a reshus harabbim, hence there is no reason for a Baal Nefesh to be stringent: see The Reprinting of the Berlin Edition of the Behag.] However, the Mishnah Berurah (Bi'ur Halachah, 345:23), quoting the Elya Rabah, states that even in conjunction with a tzad l'heter, a Baal Nefesh may be lenient and rely on the fact that the street does not have shishim ribo traversing it.

Even if one would not accept the above criterion, an eruv can be established in Manchester l’chatchilah for the following reason:
2) The streets do not run straight from one end of the city to the other ― they are not mefulashim u'mechuvanim m'shaar l'shaar.

Even if one would not accept the above criteria, an eruv can be established in Manchester l’chatchilah for the following reason:
3) As the area enclosed by the eruv is circumscribed by mechitzos, it is fundamentally a reshus hayachid.

Consequently, since each of the above conditions which are upheld by the majority of the poskim would constitute sufficient grounds to permit an eruv of tzuras hapesachim l’chatchilah, there is no reason why one could not rely on the eruv in Manchester. Moreover, since the eruv's validity rests on fundamental mitigating factors like the streets not being mefulash and the area being bounded by mechitzos, there is no doubt that under such circumstances the Mishnah Berurah ― and the overwhelming majority of poskim as well ― would agree that a Baal Nefesh could be lenient and utilize the eruv of North Manchester.

Furthermore, even if one would allege that according to a few poskim the above fundaments would not allow an eruv, nevertheless, they would have to agree that each issue is still at the very minimum a safek. Consequentially, we are left with a sfek sfek sfeika, and we would therefore go l’kula even if the matter was a d’Oraysa.

The following is an elaboration of the three criteria mentioned above:
1) It was the mesorah through the ages that shishim ribo is dependent on a single street. The Divrei Malkiel (4:3) stated when writing to the people erecting an eruv in the city of Odessa, which had approximately shishim ribo, that, "the minhag is to erect eruvin even in the largest of cities and it does not concern us that they have shishim ribo since the shishim ribo is dispersed over all the streets." New York's population in 1905 was much more than shishim ribo and the rabbanim who were involved with the eruv then relied on the fact that there was no street that had shishim ribo traversing it (Oznei Yehoshua, 1:18 and Tirosh VaYitzhar, siman 73). This is one of the reasons why in Eretz Yisroel eruvin are maintained in Yerushalayim and in the Gush Dan [Bnei Brak with all the interconnected neighborhoods] even though these regions have shishim ribo as well (Rav Yisroel Yaakov Fisher zt"l in Even Yisroel, 8:36 and Kinyan Torah, 4:40).

These are some of the additional poskim who maintain that shishim ribo is dependent on the street: Pnei Yehoshua, Shabbos 5b; Bais Meir, Shabbos 5b; Bais Yaakov, Eruvin 6a; Yad Dovid, Eruvin 55a; Bais Ephraim, p. 46; Mishkenos Yaakov, p. 126; Chiddushi Harim, siman 4; Yeshuos Malko, siman 27; Mishnah Berurah, Shaar HaTziyun, 345:25 [the Mishnah Berurah indicates this by the usage of the phrase, "derech hamavoi hamefulash," ― it is important to note, the Mishnah Berurah's (345:24) primary issue is whether the shishim ribo are required to traverse the street every day of the year or whether occasional use of the street by 600,000 people would be sufficient, see also Toldos Shmuel, 3:86:10]; Minchas Elazar, 3:4; Bais Av, 2:5:2; Maharshag, 2:25; Chazon Ish, 107:6; Mahari Stief, siman 68; V'yaan Yoseph, 131:1, 155:1, 195:2; Divrei Yatziv, 173:4; Rav Shmuel Wosner shlita in Shevet HaLevi, 6:41; Rav Yechezkel Roth shlita, in Emek HaTeshuvah 5:19; (see also the sheilah to the Chacham Tzvi in siman 37).

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:109) originally accepted as fact that shishim ribo is dependent on the street and only later (ibid., 1:139:5, 4:87-88, 5:28:5, 5:29) formulated his chiddush that in a city, shishim ribo applied to an area of twelve mil by twelve mil. According to his shita, in order for a city to be classified as a reshus harabbim, there must be 600,000 people collectively traversing the streets at the same time over a twelve mil by twelve mil area. In his final two teshuvos on the subject, he clarifies that this would require at least five times this number of people (i.e. roughly three million people) to be living in an area of twelve mil by twelve mil square (approximately sixty-four square miles). Thus, there is no doubt that Rav Moshe’s understanding of the criterion of shishim ribo is not met in North Manchester. Consequently, Rav Moshe would not classify Manchester as a reshus harabbim and would allow an eruv to be established.

Most importantly, the Bais Av (2:5:2), in order to allow an eruv in Manchester, made use of the argument that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of the street. As I mentioned above, the Bais Av was the greatest posek to live in Manchester and he allowed an eruv there for this reason. I believe the choice is obvious. 

There are those who argue that in order to classify the street as a reshus harabbim, we do not require that the shishim rbo traverse the street itself; it is adequate if the street would just service 600,000 residents. Therefore, they claim that Bury New Road meets this definition of shishim ribo and would be classified as a reshus harabbim.  However, this is clearly in opposition to the simple understanding of the Shulchan Aruch and the overwhelming majority of poskim. Since the Shulchan Aruch uses the term shishim ribo ovrim bo b’chol yom, it implies a thoroughfare in continuous use and not merely the presence of 600,000 people in the vicinity who would have the ability to utilize the street. It is patently clear from the following poskim that the shishim ribo would need to actually traverse the road itself in order to be classified as a reshus harabbim: Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26; Mishkenos Yaakov, siman 121 as he explains the shitos of the Shulchan Aruch; Michtam L’David, siman 2; Divrei Chaim, Addendum 3; Zivchei Tezdek, siman 102; Maharsham, 3:188; Sefas Emes, Shabbos 6b; Yeshuos Malko, siman 27; Minchas Elazar, 3:4; Tuv Yehoshua, p. 8, and Minchas Yitzchak, 8:32.

Even Rav Moshe zt”l (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139:5, 4:87) interpreted the criterion of shishim ribo ovrim bo to mean a thoroughfare in continuous use, such as an intercity road, which he maintained would need to have 600,000 people traversing the same section of the road (ibid., 5:28:16) on a daily basis in order for it to be classified as a reshus harabbim.

Furthermore, this issue is a moot point according to most poskim since Bury New Road does not continue straight [mefulash u'mechuvan] into these other roadways, and they are therefore not halachically considered as one. Consequently, even Bury New Road would not be categorized as servicing shishim ribo.  Additionally, Rav Moshe (ibid.,) maintained that in order for any section of an intercity road to be classified as a reshus harabbim, the shishim ribo would have to traverse that particular section of the road on a daily basis. Accordingly, we would not include vehicles entering the roadway at different points in the total count, as they are each traveling along different segments of the roadway. Since Bury New Road has much fewer than shishim ribo traversing it at any point, there is no question that Rav Moshe would not classify the segments of it that extend outside of the city as a reshus harabbim (see also Bais Shearim, siman 132).

Finally, regarding the criterion of shishim ribo, it is important to note that most poskim maintain that the occupants of a car are not tallied in the shishim ribo: Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26; Maharsham, 1:162; Yeshuos Malko, siman 26-27; Harei B’samim, 5:73; Bais Av, 2:9:3; Mahari Stief, siman 68; Satmar Rav, Kuntres Meoz U’Mekedem p. 27; Divrei Yatziv, 2:172:13; V’yaan Yoseph, 1:155:1; Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan, siman 12 p. 105; Kinyan Torah, 4:40:6, and Rabbi Eliezer Y. Waldenberg zt"l, author of the Tzitz Eliezer, as cited in The Contemporary Eruv, 2002 p. 54 note 119. The reason is either because a vehicle in itself is considered a reshus hayachid and therefore its occupants are not part of the total or because we only include pedestrians (holchei regel) who traverse the street in the tally. [It’s important to note that the concept that only holchei regel creates a reshus harabbim is already mentioned in the Rishonim: Teshuvos HaRambam, siman 310; Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam in Birchas Avraham, siman 15, and Or Zarua, Hilchos Erev Shabbos siman 4.]

Since it is clear that no roads including Bury New Road within the Manchester eruv meet the criterion of shshim ribo, an eruv of tzuras hapesachim can be established.

2) Most poskim understand mefulashim m'shaar l'shaar as meaning mefulashim u'mechuvanim m'shaar l'shaar, open and running straight from city gate to city gate: Bais Yosef, 345:8; Tosfos Shabbos, 345:13; Elya Rabah, 345:13; Magen Avraham, 345:6; Pri Megadim, Aishel Avraham, 364: 2; Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26; Tiferes Yisroel, introduction to Shabbos; U'Bacharta B'Chaim, siman 123; Shoel U'Maishiv, 2:87; Yehudah Yaaleh, O.C. siman 54; Mahari Slutsk, O.C. siman 11; Minchas Elazar, 3:4, Mishnah Berurah, 345:20, Shevet Halevi 8:177:2.

These sources do not differentiate between a walled city and an open city. Since this is a very important distinction and has a great impact in how we apply the criterion of mefulash, we can garner from this omission that there is no difference halachically whether or not the city is walled.

The following is a partial list of poskim who are clearly not referring to a walled city, and as such would definitely uphold that no street in North Manchester would qualify as a reshus harabbim:
The Mishnah Berurah (364:8), when describing the cities of his times, stated that there were streets that were sixteen amos wide and mefulash u'mechuvanim m'shaar l'shaar. Therefore, a Baal Nefesh should be stringent since to erect an eruv in these cities they had to rely on the fact that the street did not have shishim ribo traversing it. As we know, most towns in the Mishnah Berurah’s times were not walled ― even in earlier times most cities were not walled (Pri Megadim, Mishbetzes Zahav 362:17) ― consequently, we can deduce that he accepted the criterion of mefulash as not being dependent on a walled city.

The Divrei Malkiel (4:3) states that to find a street in a large city which is mefulash, open from one end of the city to the other is unheard of, and that is why the minhag is to erect eruvin even in the largest of cities. He wrote this teshuvah regarding Odessa, a city that was not walled.

Rav Shlomo Dovid Kahane zt"l (Divrei Menachem, O.C. vol. 2, pp. 42-43), one of the main rabbanim of Warsaw before World War II, posited that the heter to erect an eruv in a large city such as Warsaw, which was not walled from the year 1877 (Encyklopedia Warszawy, 1994 p. 187), was universally accepted as the streets were not mefulashim u'mechuvanim m'shaar l'shaar. More so, he claimed, a small city would have a greater problem establishing an eruv since its streets would be mefulash. In a small city there is usually one main street running straight through the center of the town as opposed to a large city where the streets are generally not straight from city gate to city gate.

Most significantly, the Bais Av (2:9:1) made use of the criterion of mefulashim u'mechuvanim m'shaar l'shaar as one of the heterim to allow an eruv in Manchester. I reiterate that the Bais Av was the greatest posek to live in Manchester, and he allowed an eruv there for this reason. We should follow his guidance regarding this criterion, as well.

Since it is clear that no roads within the Manchester eruv meet the criterion of mefulash u'mechuvanim m'shaar l'shaar, an eruv of tzuras hapesachim can be established.

[It is important to note that Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l (Igros Moshe, O.C. 5:28:7) disagreed with the above poskim and maintained mefulashim u'mechuvanim m'shaar l'shaar is a criterion that can only be utilized in a walled city, which some would claim is not the case in North Manchester. (In fact, since the Manchester eruv makes use of mechitzos, there is no reason not to regard the area as being circumscribed by mechitzos.) Nevertheless, an eruv would be allowed according to his shitos in eruvin, for the additional reasons discussed here.]

3) A fundamental reason why there is no concern regarding a reshus harabbim within the Manchester eruv is that the vast majority of the eruv's circumference is made up of mechitzos and not tzuras hapesachim (over 90% of the perimeter of the eruv is composed of buildings, brick walls, fences and other structures).

While there may be some pirtzos [gaps] in the mechitzos, once the walls are omed merubeh al haparutz on three sides [that is, more than 50 percent of the length of each side must actually consist of a wall] practically all poskim maintain that the multitudes do not negate the enclosure: Chacham Tzvi, siman 5, 37; Knesset Yechezkal, siman 2:3; Mayim Rabim, siman 34-36; Maharit Tzahalon, siman 251; Tosfos Shabbos, siman 363; Pri Megadim, Rosh Yoseph, Shabbos 6b; Even HaOzer, Eruvin 6b, 22a; Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26; Noda B'Yehudah, O.C. Mahadura Tinyana, 42 and Teshuvah M'Ahavah, siman 112; She'eilas Yaavetz, siman 7 and Mor U'Ketziyah, siman 363; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, O.C. 363:42, 364:4 and Kuntres Achron, O.C. 345:2; Keren Oreh, Eruvin 7a; Michtam L'David, siman 1; Tiferes Tzvi, siman 11; Chasam Sofer, O.C. 89; HaEleph Lecha Shlomo, siman 181; Aishel Avraham, siman 345; Chai Adam, klal 71:15; Gaon Yaakov, Eruvin 11a, 21a; Chesed L'Avraham, siman 39; Maharam Shick, O.C. 171, 181; Maharia HaLevi, siman 94; Bais Shlomo, siman 43, 51; Tzemach Tzedek, Shabbos 100a and Eruvin, the end of Perek 5; Nefesh Chayah, siman 25; Avnei Nezer, O.C. 273:16, 279:2, 289:2; Aruch HaShulchan, O.C. 364:1; Maharsham, 3:188, 9:18; Yeshuos Malko, siman 21; Harei B'samim, 5:73; Imrei Yosher, siman 102 and Minchas Pitim, siman 364; Kaf HaChaim, O.C. 364:12; Divrei Malkiel, 3:10, 14; Rav Chaim Berlin in Tikkun Shabbos Odessa, p. 28 and in Nishmas Chaim, siman 29; Achiezer, 4:8; Even Yikrah, siman 58, and Chazon Ish, O.C. 74:10, 107:4.

Although some of the pirtzos may be ten amos wide, practically all poskim maintain that pirtzos esser is only a rabbinical proscription (thus, the need to close the pirtzos is only d'rabbanan, and a tzuras hapesach would suffice): Mabit in Kiryat Sefer, Shabbos Perek 16; Bais Meir, siman 364; Pri Megadim, Mishbetzos Zahav, 363:1; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, O.C. 345:11; Zera Emes, Eruvin 17; Keren Oreh, Eruvin 17b; Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26-27; Tiferes Tzvi, siman 11; Tikkun Eruvin Krakow, teshuvah 1; Melamed Leho'il, siman 68; Avnei Nezer, O.C. 265:13, 265:25, 276:1, 279:3; Aruch HaShulchan, O.C. 362:26; Mahari Slutsk, O.C. 11; Achiezer, 4:8; Chazon Ish, O.C. 107:5-8, 112:5; Chavatzeles HaSharon, O.C. 19; Kol Mevaser, 1:20:2, and Igros Moshe, O.C. 2:89-90.

Following this, the fact that the Manchester eruv is incorporating mechitzos that are omed merubeh al haparutz which would classify the area as fundamentally a reshus hayachid, there is no reason to be stringent and not make use of the eruv.

Of course, it is always possible to cite shitos yechidos to invalidate an eruv; however, ruling according to shitos yechidos is not an acceptable approach to halachah. The Chasam Sofer writes (Y.D. 37) that if we were to collect all the shitos ha'ossrim we would not be able to eat bread or drink water. Even more so, in hilchos eruvin, since all criteria have to be met for the area to be classified as a reshus harabbim, even if we were to employ a shitas yachid regarding reshus harabbim that would then disqualify the eruv based on only one criterion, the other conditions would not be met and an eruv would be permissible l'chatchilah. Consequently, to invalidate an eruv, one would have to selectively choose from disparate shitos yachidos ― which in many cases are contradictory ― and this approach is not followed regarding any other halachic issue. Why should eruvin be any different?